Dec 31, 2011

Twas the Night Before Christmas...

After a beautiful Christmas Eve service at our church, and our pastor having all

the children come up on stage so he could read them the Christmas story out of

the Bible, and an impromptu Chinese dinner with some friends we've known over

twenty years we headed home to prepare for Santa's arrival the next morning!

Last year Gabriella enjoyed the story The Night Before Christmas because it was

 a story...this year, she was really into it as she "got it".

She loves her daddy reading her stories...especially this one!

She wanted to go check the tree one more time.

She was so excited!

After deciding things were just right...

and the presents were organized just so.

It was time to write the note to Santa, which was just precious, and put out the

cookies and milk!

Nicholas then was busy in the den tracking Santa on the computer and he found

that Santa had just arrived in the United States!  It was off to bed and we didn't

 hear another word the entire night!!

Baking Christmas Cookies...Princess Style!

Gabriella was beyond excited to make Christmas cookies for Santa!

We rolled the dough out together and then began cutting out the cookies!

Love her little hands:)

Cutting out the little stars were her favorite!  And I have to say they perfect size

 little cookie if you just wanted a little bite of a Christmas cookie:)

The Princess Style comes into play here...notice how many pictures the wet paper

towel is close so she can continue to wipe off her hands...this little one does not

like to be dirty!

REAL happy as she is wiping off her hands!

Decorating with icing.

Licking the icing off her fingers.

One of her finished products...made with love:)

Santa loved his cookies!

And by the time we were done her shirt was off too as she had icing on her shirt! 

 I can't tell you how excited I am to get outside on a sunny day and take some

photos...the inside pictures, well, I'm sure you understand!

A Christmas Gift from Mei Mei...

On December 24 the doorbell rang and it was the mail carrier.  It took Gabriella

less than a minute to realize the package was for her.

She asked it who it was from and I told her Mei Mei Emily in Tennessee.  She

began jumping up and down with excitement!

She began unwrapping her presents.  First she unwrapped a 2012 pink calender

where she can color on the different pages.  She has been spending a lot of time

with her markers and coloring the calender...she loves it!!

Then she opened a Barbie Zoo Doctor kit where she squealed with excitement!! 

When you asked Emily and Gabriella what they want to be when they grow up

they will both tell you they want to be a doctor that takes care of animals.

Thank you very much Mei Mei Emily for the Christmas gifts!  We have spoken

many times how interesting it would be if the girls who began their life together

 in China, then both came home to their forever families in the United States,

 ended up back together in college sharing a dorm room and majoring in the same

area of study!  God has wonderful plans for each of their lives and we feel so

blessed that he has chosen our families to love and raise them!

Dec 28, 2011

Santa and the Reindeer Sighting...

As I catch up on Christmas blog post I have to include the night we went to see

Santa and the reindeer.

The line was long but this year we were inside so we were at least warm and


While Curtis and I waited inside with Gabriella, Nicholas went outside to check on

the reindeer.  He told us that there were two big reindeer and a baby reindeer

and they were really cute!  As soon as we saw Santa we would go see the


Santa was extremely nice and attentive and Gabriella didn't have a fear in the

world sitting and chatting with him!

After we saw Santa we went out to see the reindeer; it seems that we just

missed them as they had to fly back to the North Pole! 

There were some nice girls who asked if we would take their picture and they

would in turn take we took them up on it!  The following Sunday morning

after leaving our unbelievable Christmas program at our church, which included a

live camel among other animals, we were walking out to our car when a very nice

lady stopped us.  She asked Gabriella if she would like to see something.  She

 opened the side door of her van and there was a tiny baby reindeer!!!  We were

simply amazed!!!  We later found out this is the same family that provides

reindeer to where we were the night before!  The lady was very kind in allowing

 us to see her reindeer and apologized that we missed them the evening

before! This is one thing I love about the city where we live; the spirit of

thoughtfulness and kindness is so prevalent here!  Recently we were just voted

as the most optimistic city in America; I would have to say I totally agree and it's

 a wonderful place to call home!

Dec 27, 2011

Brothers and Sisters...

Gabriella has such a unique relationship with each of her brothers:)

Jordan spoils her and baby's her like none other!  We had a meeting to attend

 and even though Jordan wasn't feeling well he pulled out the cookie dough,

cookie cutters, decorations along with making icing so he and Gabriella could

decorate Christmas cookies three weeks before Christmas!

She had a great time eating the icing and decorating the cookies with her big bro!

Their finished product:)

As many of you know Gabriella and Nicholas spent a lot of time working through

their new positions within the family.  Namely, Nicholas had been the baby for

over twelve years prior to Gabriella coming home from China. I can happily say

that this dynamic duo has come a l-o-n-g way and realized there is plenty of love

to go around for each one!

Daniel and Gabriella prove that personalities can be very similar even if you

happen to come from two totally different parts of the world!  When they first

met Daniel had to try really hard to get on her good side...let's say he

had definitely met his match!  Now she squeals with excitement any time she

knows she will talk to him, see him or be able to spend time together.   She loves

each of her brothers unconditionally and I can say that they all feel

the same about her.  They have all said they can't imagine their life without her

and God definitely knew who the  perfect little sister would be for each of them!

Dec 24, 2011

Merry Christmas From Our Family to Yours!

Praying you all have a very Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year!!!

Dec 19, 2011

Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas!!

Gabriella could hardly contain herself this weekend when we told her we were

going to see Santa! 

She made sure she told him everything that was on her mind and was ecstatic

 after seeing him!!  We're counting down the days until he arrives!

Dec 16, 2011

Favorite Photo Friday "Our Little Flower Girl"

Last weekend we spent a few days in "the windy city" AKA Chicago for my sisters

 wedding.  The wedding was beautiful and we had a wonderful time but this

mama was totally excited as she had all four of her kiddos together for the first

time since Labor Day!  Daniel flew in from North Carolina and it was wonderful to

see him and spend time together!

We just finished getting our little flower girl ready!  Those of you with a beloved

little Asian princess I can share with you that you need LOTS of setting and hair

spray if you want curls in their hair:)

We were downstairs waiting for the limo to pick us up and take us to the

wedding. I knew it had been a busy semester but when I look at this photo...let's

just say I'm excited to have a few weeks off for some R & R and to get

reacquainted with the gym!

The limo has arrived!

Sitting with Aunt Tiana in the really big car!!

We arrived and the first place Gabriella wanted to go was to check on Aunt Kris,

the beautiful bride!

Too cute!

Hanging out with papa and grandma before the wedding:)

She has her flowers...

we were all wondering if she would drop them down the isle??

First we had to check out the "twirl factor" of the dress...thankfully this one


Then a quick photo shoot with the ring bearer...yes, Jack, Kris and Kevin's dog

drove in all the way from New York to serve as the ring bearer...he even shared a

 few words during the ceremony!

Here we go....

And she's doing it!!!

She did great until she saw where I was sitting...

Then quickly ran to me to join us towards the front.  Great job baby girl!!!

Kris being escorted down the isle with dad:)

Mr and Mrs Kevin Mano!!!!

Peeking to check out what's for dinner.

The girl LOVES the smell of roses. 

Gavin is an INCREDIBLE cousin to Gabriella and Gabriella loves him to pieces!! 

 He is soooo very patient with her!  You can tell he is used to being a big brother

 and he is wonderful with younger kiddos:) 

Our oldest "baby" boy who just turned 21!  Doesn't he look great in purple!

Our little princess LOVES and I mean LOVES to dance.  I'm totally convinced she

is praying as she "patiently" waits for the dance floor to open up and she can

finally begin to dance!

And it did!  Enjoy yourself baby girl!  You did an awesome job and we couldn't be

 more proud of you!!!

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